Places that have gone

Timberlakes, Library Street
The old Fire Station in Chapel Lane, The Central Station in Station Road (Wigan's third railway station) George Makinson had an ironmongery shop at the side, the Hippodrome (Where many well known stars appeared), H H Timberlakes had a showroom for cars in Library Street, and the Royal George a Lodging House in Hardybutts.

Comment by: Jean Welding (nee Dunn) (Wigan, England) pre 2009.

The old Labour Cinema (long gone) at the top of Scholes.I think it was on top of the old Labour club. My friend Pauline and I went there regularly. We sat on wooden benches. If we wanted the posh seats we paid a few pennies more and walked up about six steps at the back to sit on soft covered seats. The billing changed every two days so we saw lots of films(called pictures in those days.The usher was a man called Mr.Allen. If we made a noise he had a big stick with which he would bang down especially on Satuday matinees

Comment by: joe bamber (wigan, lancs) pre 2009.

hi i worked at pepper mill brass foundry in the 60s and 70s what great times is there any ex pepper millers out there joe

Comment by: Stephen Lee (Oban, Scotland) pre 2009.

I remember Central Station, but I never knew what line it was on. I am certain I never travelled from it. Was it just goods? I used to go trainspotting from the old iron footbridge which was close to North Western station - I used to stick my head through the railings and get blasted by steam and smoke when a train went underneath!

Comment by: sharon stead (cottingham, england) pre 2009.

I do not have a memory about wigan but came across it while searching my family tree.My ancestor was called John Burgess and he lived in wigan, and died in burgess street in 1920.Apparently it was named after him??Just wondered if anyone out there has any memories of the family??

Comment by: Roger Gaskell (Newbury, UK) pre 2009.

Hi, does any one remember working at Plessey on Lamberhead Green Ind Estate 1967-1974.We produced 3000type post office relays and telephone Dials.The factory was mainly staffed by girls.We used to have some rare old times paricularly when the factory started Christmas holidays.The pub in Enfield street did some good business at this time.

Comment by: Barb Johnson (Seattle, USA) pre 2009.

Does anyone remember a lady named Jean who worked behind the bar at the BeesKnees pub in Wigan Town Centre during the late 70s early 80s ( is it still there by the way ?) Jean and I were neighbours in the maisonettes in Worsley Mesnes, ( and that was a whole other experience )

Comment by: Stuart Parkinson (Stretford, UK) pre 2009.

I too remember Big Amy and was sad to hear that she has passed away. I lived in Springfield and used to see her shopping on Park Road when off duty. She was a lovely person and sadly missed. Timberlake's did have a garage in Library Street and it did have a petrol pump on one corner, they moved to where the old B&Q store now stands on the corner of Wallgate and Caroline Street. Linda Lyons of Hindley, did you used to go to Gidlow Middle School in the early 1970s? If you did, I know you!!!

Comment by: Joe Bell (sandbach, cheshire) pre 2009.

Hi Leslie I remember the room at the top music club. It was opposite the Bus stand for Kitt Green on the Market square. My school mate Kevin O’Laughlin used to act as bouncer there from time to time. The other major hang out was the Bodega “The Bod” in King St. Bell bottom jeans and not a drop of hair oil in sight, unless of course you were a rocker?

Comment by: dave orrell (billinge, uk) pre 2009.

how sad to hear that Big Amy is gone.She really would help anyone,as i well remember.having been to the pictures with my then girlfriend (now wife)we returned to my old pre-war banger parked in front of the fish market in hope st,no start,flat battery.along comes Amy sees the problem and without more ado gives me a push start.yes salt of the earth was big Amy.

Comment by: Joe Bell (Sandbach, England) pre 2009.

Hi Roy Yes I remember jack Watson’s cycle shop. It was on the corner of Chapel Lane and Princess St.(Or James St) Caroline St was on the other corner, to the left as you looked into the cycle shop. My Dad bought me my first bike there with Derailer gears. The corner shop with Caroline St became a second hand shop owned by a “Jimmy” from Poolstock in the 60s, I would say around 62 ish. I was into radio by that time and used to buy up all the old valve sets people would throw out. My Gran Sarah Stockley Lived at 111 Caroline St.

Comment by: Lesley Dantinnes (Eskdale, England) pre 2009.

Does anyone remember the disco that was upstairs called the Room at the Top ? It was before Wigan casino I think.Great music from the US.We thought we were so cool!

Comment by: Graham hart (wigan, uk) pre 2009.

does anybody remember the top of chapel lane in the 50'sat the traffic lights the fire station/opposite the tax office were u couldtax ur car,a pub opposite which i don't remember the name,the palace picture house,close by the hippadrome were my dad took me,i saw hilda baker and the very tall stooge she had with her,she no's u no,famous catch frase,also the motorcycle speedway in poolstock,my dad took me on the opening night and guess who opened it?laurel and hardy they drove round in an open top car waving to everybody.the empire picture house in the town centre,we used to stand on tiptoes and make ourselves taller so we could get into the x rated films,those were the days the youth of today have never lived?.the empress ballroom,saw many artist there 1 of which was david whitfield what a voice and what a night we were stood on the tables singing with him fantastic,this is 1 place in wigan which should never hav been pulled down.i cud go on about how the town has been ruined by outsiders and stolen our town in the name of progress but fighting a loosing battle we are.

Comment by: elizabeth (margaret finch) (Baughton .Upton on Severn .worcs, englnd) pre 2009.

Does any one remeber the man on a 3 wheeled cycle Tom something I think he was very famous on his bike and used to have a bike shop somewhere nr the Pier, oh just remebered Tom Hughes. I rmember my father bying a bike from Him a Raleigh Sport with 3 gears , father thought he was racing man I think .lovely memories of my Dad

Comment by: Roy Harrison (Wigan, England) pre 2009.

With all the recent changes being made to Chapel Lane of late. I was wondering if anyone remembers Jack Watsons Cycle Shop that used to be on Chapel Lane? It was on a corner possibly with Caroline Street? As I recall and can vaguely remember going in with my father just before he closed down in the late 80's when it was one of the last buildings left standing along that area of Chapel Lane. Does anyone know what happened to Jack Watson after his shop closed and was demolished?

Comment by: Linda Lyons (Hindley, England) pre 2009.

I'm really sorry to hear about Amy. She worked with my Dad , and as I believe actually babysat me when I was small! A great Wigan Character will be well missed. My Dad was Alec Lyons better known as Jock who thought the world of Amy as a great work mate

Comment by: laura amy holt (appley bridge, uk) pre 2009.

big amy holt has passed away, at the age of 80 peacefully, at 8.15pm wednesday 17th may 2006 x

Comment by: Irene Lamb (Wigan, England) pre 2009.

I find Buemoon's comments above very witty and amusing. Keep it up. You should have a job with Wigan World. Does anyone rember Bolton St in Scholes. It had two grocers shops, a newsagent, off licence and a pub. You didn't need to stray far from home those days.

Comment by: sylvia (wigan, lancs) pre 2009.

Anyone remember anything about the Wigan Arms pub in wellington st scholes, or the people who ran it back in the 1940s

Comment by: bloomoon (wigan, England) pre 2009.

Yeh, our wigan as we knew it has passed on. R.I.P. Bits, just bits still here. When your young you never think things will ever change,you don,t even think about it, its in my life,can,t change,why? its ok. Anyone who has lived in a small town for 50yrs or so, see things change gradually and you don,t really mind at the time,then more changes, soon you start saying to your children, so and so used to be there, and over there, there was, and, I used to walk down that road and it had trees either side was lovely in summer, then there was you couldn,t do that then! and.....that, I suppose you feel a little on the old side,maybe pushing 60. Then you come to understand when your parents said the same things about their memories of, such and such was over there, you hardly saw a car, if you had one you must be rich,funny things like that. So!!! what am I getting at? dunno Our time, is history to someone else,you get interested into history, your towns history,then your families history and then some people,like me,start wondering,mm wonder what it was life in my granmas age,and then her granmas time, soon you get hooked and take it a bit more serious. become a Town Historian and geneologist. Hope our grandkids,and I,m sure lots will,become interested in their town and how much has changed in their time, Over there used to be the galleries,and over there a wonderful park called mesnes park, etc etc,...You never know,its called progress, for the better,but it will never be when you push on 60, I wonder if my children will say the same things when the nudge 60.

Comment by: david hurst (wigan, uk) pre 2009.

I remember big Amy, 6 foot eight and built with it. She used to come to my fathers record stall umpteen times a week, just for a chat. She looked awesome and still did the last time i saw her in Lawtons butchers on Gidlow lane a year or so ago. What a wonderfull woman. Makes me think, a couple of dozen BIG AMYS in the Wigan Police Force may just about solve all our problems. David Hurst

Comment by: peter (wigan, england) pre 2009.

oxleys in station road,as a kid my ma used to drag me around the place,I hated it

Comment by: Freddie Laithwaite (Wigan, England) pre 2009.

Bluemoon doesn't tell the whole story. Everybody slepped on a rope and at 7am someone came in and cut it. The Royal George was what they called a Doss House.

Comment by: bloomoon (wigan, uk) pre 2009.

A question about The Royal George lodging house,.........I was told,as a kid that they charged sixpence to sleep on a rope?? sounds daft but I think there,s something in it. Anybody else heard of it?

Comment by: phil gray (norwich, UK) pre 2009.

My Dad, Bill Gray, used to do lettering and livery painting work for Hattons of Southport. He had the job of lettering the very first fleet of Granada Red Arrow minivans at Timberlakes in 1961 or 62 and took me along to help. They were sprayed and had a white stripe painted on them by the paint shop, then I would trace down the outlines of the letters for him to paint. We would do about 4 in a day. At lunchtime we used to go to the UCP for chicken and ham pie and then to the market where I used my pay to buy my first american DC comics (I was 11 or 12). I have fond memories of the town and how the lettering and the comics shaped my future as a graphic designer.

Comment by: ged middlehurst (rainford, england) pre 2009.

i worked at timberlakes in 1961.they were owned by hattons in southport.they did sell rolls royce. they also had the first e type jaguar in the north west.i worked in the paint shop on the top floor.we used to throw little balls of gum gum at the students across the street in the tec.fond memories

Comment by: margaret (wigan, greater manchester) pre 2009.

Hi Keith so now you know who i am.surely it wasn,t a surprise especially knowing you dealt with funeral furnishings like me.see you soon.

Comment by: keith charnock (wigan, lancs) pre 2009.

Dear Margaret still selling the goods?please contact me I would love to know who you are.I have an idea but thats all. caseyk

Comment by: margaret (wigan, england) pre 2009.

i remember timberlakes being in library st my husband bought his first car there in1963 he still has the recipt for it he paid £95 for the car.he probably couldn,t believe how much it was so kept the recipt as a reminder.i also remember the petrol pump which war on the corner of what is now wallpaper supplies. by the way keith charnock have you swold any good coffins lately? ha!ha!

Comment by: laura amy holt (appley bridge, uk) pre 2009.

big amy holt is 80 years young today and still going strong

Comment by: laura amy holt (appley bridge, uk) pre 2009.

yes my auntie big amy holt is still around!! she is still in good health too....

Comment by: Alf. Higham (Torquay, uk) pre 2009.

Ken, I can confirm your asking about seeing Rolls Royce for sale in Timberlakes. Timberlakes were B.M.C. dealers,but they had a R.R. dealership within their group. I'm almost sure they were "Hattons of Southport". On occasions,they would bring over from Southport a car to stand in their Wigan Showrooms.

Comment by: k charnock (wigan, lancs) pre 2009.

can anyone remember a pond which was on the beech hill end of springfield park. It was drained and then used as a land fill site in the 40s and fifties.When I was at Gidlow school I remember refuse wagons going down the side of springfield park. The area from springfild park was a land fill site down to what we called locally the swamp. A stream ran out from Culvert St on Springfield Road this was piped during the building of John Fisher school

Comment by: keith charnock (wigan, lancs) pre 2009.

In timberlakes I think I saw a ROLLS ROYCE car for sale. I wonder if any one can comfirm my thoughts. On the opposite side of LIBRARY STREET there was old type petrol pump.



Comment by: Richard Robinson (Hillcrest, South Africa) pre 2009.

I remember as a youngster, 60 years ago,my father,Albert, taking me to watch Wigan Water Polo team in the old Wigan baths. Also Saturday nights first house at the Pavilion in Library St.

Comment by: John G (Bury, Lancs) pre 2009.

Timberlakes car showroom was on the same side of Library Street as what was then Wigan Technical College. This was in the 1950's when Austin A40's were in vogue. I also dimly recall there being some other premises belonging to Timberlakes on other side of the road, opposite to the Technical College. The Grimes Arcade joined Library Street to King Street. It contained Grimes music shop where one could buy mouth organs (I still have one that was bought there!)amongst other things. There was also a shoe shop on the opposite side to the Tech called McNulty's. They sold good quality shoes. I remember saving up for months to buy a pair that cost all of £4.19s.6p.

Comment by: addie (wigan, uk) pre 2009.

amy holt policewoman. she is still around and still as friendly as ever

Comment by: Alex Jones (Westhoughton, England) pre 2009.

I remember all of these places I worked for British Rail and drove a three wheel scammell. Starting from Chapel Lane goods yard my delivery run was one half of the town starting at the hippadrome

Comment by: Mollie Matthews (Wigan, England) pre 2009.

This is for Margaret Finch and John Burgess re: Amy the Policewoman. Margaret I tried to email you but my message was rejected. Amy is still around and when I spoke to her a month or so ago she looked in extremely good health and she's still tall and bonny. We reminisced about the fifties when I was a little girl and she pounded Darlington Street where my dad had a shop, Harrogate Street and around. What a lovely lady she is! Mollie

Comment by: John Burgess (Waterford, Ireland) pre 2009.

remember Big Amy (Amy Holt nee Dooley), her husband was only slightly shorter than her and had sandy hair. Her heart was as big as the rest of her, she'd help anyone out, my dad always said she was too soft to be a policewoman. I used to see her in Billy Bolton's barbers shop on Park Road (opposite Kimberley Street) quite a lot, I believe she used to lodge upstairs and the back. The last thing I heard about her was about 10-15 years ago, my mother wrote me, she said she had lost an awful lot of weight and looked very ill. She was good friends with my father, Harry Burgess years ago. I suppose she is gone now, pity, Wigan is the poorer for it. John Burgess

Comment by: Ken Dawber (Newton Stewart, Scotland) pre 2009.

Picture Houses-final curtain!. Palace(King St.) COURT(King St.) County(King St.) Princess(Wallgate) Pavillion(Library St.) Empire(Weind) Ritz/ABC(Stn.Rd.) Not forgetting live shows,Hippodrome(King St.).... thriving picture-goers, Sat.nights,King St.

Comment by: Rose Normanly (Gallagher) (Tubbercurry, Co. Sligo, Ireland) pre 2009.

The Royal George Lodging House was a common loding house at the Warrington Lane end of Hardybutts. When I left Wigan in 1951 it was still there. The residents were mainly men, mostly Irish labourers. The other lodging houses I remember were "Paddys" in Union Street (off Scholes) and "The Cosy Corner" at the top of the Himalaya in Warrington Lane. "The Himalaya" was the hill coming up from the bottom of Scholes to Warrington Lane.

Comment by: Paul Green (Crooke Village, Wigan) pre 2009.

Timberlakes had a garage on Wallgate where Office world is now?

Comment by: Julie Phillips nee Cullen (Two Rocks, Perth Western Australia) pre 2009.

My father (John "known as Jackie" Cullen) used to work as the projectionist at Princes Cinema, Wallgate (I think). He also used to work at Heinz, Kitt Green. Anyone remember Jackie, email us.

Comment by: E Margaret Finch nee Green (Baughton, Worcestershire) pre 2009.

Does anyone remember AMY the first Policewoman in the town, she was very tall. I can picture her now this would be in the 1950's, also anyone remember Makinsons Cafe over the Maypole at the top of Wallgate. If anyone remembers me, Margaret green and is on the internet please E mail me at I will be pleased to hear from you

Comment by: C.O'Leary (Wiggin, England) pre 2009.

When the new fire station was built near Asda, the old station was taken over by the traffic branch of the old Wigan Borough Police where all the patrol cars were serviced and garaged.